Showing posts with label iwami33. Show all posts
Showing posts with label iwami33. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Sakurae Koinobori


Early May, 2013, and I start day 6 of my walk along the Kannon pilgrimage in the former province of Iwami, the Iwami Mandala Kannon. The last temple I visited was Senganji upriver in Kawamoto and the next two temples lie between it and my home so I decided to start out from my house and walk this section in reverse as it were.

The azaleas were starting to bloom and a few houses had koinobori carp streamers flying.

The colourful bridge that crosses the river between Tanijyugo, my village, and Kawado on the opposite bank, had recently had a new coat of paint.

Just upstream from the Kawado Bridge, two lines of koinobori are stretched across the river.

On the far bank is where the local suijin festival will take place on May 5th. A large Onusa, a purification wand, hangs over the river at this point to pacify the turbulent water deity.

The previous post in this series was Senganji Temple. Also please check out this post about the water deity Suijin.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Senganji Temple 9 on the Iwami Kannon pilgrimage


Senganji Temple, number 9 on the Iwami Kannon pilgrimage, sits on a steep hillside overlooking the small town of Kawamoto on the Gonokawa River.

It is a Soto Zen temple with a Jizo for a honzon, and was founded in 1576.

It was originally located in a valley to the west but was burned down, quite ossibly due to warfare.

On to of the mountain was a castle belonging to the Ogasawara Clan who ruled the area, with the agreement of the powerful Mori Clan.

Senganji and two powerful temples nearby, also both on the Iwami Kannon pilgrimage, all had strong connections with the Ogasawara and were considered clan temples.

Senganji has been uninhabited and rarely visited for some time, and since I visited ten years ago I have seen photos showing a lot of deterioration and collapse in the buildings.

According to one source there were several residences at the temple until about 100 years ago.

The previous post was on the path up the mountainside to the temple which has many statues.

Senganji is also temple number 21 on the Iwami Ginzan Kannon pilgrimage, a recently rediscovered pilgrimage route.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The Climb to Senganji Temple


Kawamoto is the next town up the Gonokawa River from my village.

Halfway up the steep hillside across the river from downtown Kawamoto is a small temple, Senganji.

The temple becomes really visible in late Autumn when the trees around it turn orange, yellow, and red.

I have actually only made it up to the temple one time, after walking down from Iwami Ginzan on day 5 of my walk along the Iwami Kannon pilgrimage.

Senganji is temple number 9 on that pilgrimage.

There is no vehicular access to Senganji, only a footpath with more than 200 steps, which is, I think, a large reason the temple has been uninhabited for a long time.

There are numerous statues along the path, inlcuding a lot of Jizo but also some Kannon.

When I visited in the late afternoon in May, the shafts of sunlight illumnated many of the statues quite dramatically.

Tomorrow I will post photos from inside the temple and include what history I have been able to find out.

According to a recent photo I saw, the structure housing this collection of statues has  now completely collapsed.

The temple occuppies a narrow ledge in the steep hillside.

The previous post in this series on the Iwami kannon pilgrimage was Ido Shrine in Omori.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Ido Shrine


Ido Shrine in Omori, part of the Iwami Ginzan World Heritage Site, was established in 1888 and worships the deified spirit of Ido Heizaimon, a former magistrate of the district who is known as the "Potato Magistrate".

He became the magistrate of the district in 1731, and in the following year, the Kyoho Famine struck western Japan. Officially there were 12,000 deaths attributed to the famine but in reality, the number was much higher, probably about 169,000. The causes of the famine seem to have been a combination of bad weather and insect infestation leading to a massive increase in the price of rice.

Before receiving permission from the Shogunate, Ido opened the government granaries and distributed the rice to the local population, but mostly he is known for introducing Sweet Potato into the region, hence ensuring that no one in Iwami died from famine.

There are more than 500 monuments in Shimane, Tottori, Okayama, and Hiroshima to the introduction of sweet potatoes by him.

On this visit I was walking the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage and the previous post was on the 500 rakan of Rakanji Temple.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

500 Rakan at Iwami Ginzan


Rakan, sometimes called arhats, are said to be the disciples of the historical Buddha, and groups of 500 statues representing them can be found all over Japan.

The collection of 500 rakan found in Omori, part of Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, is unusual in that they are housed in several man-made caves dug into a hillside by miners working at the silver mine.

The rakan here at Iwami Ginzan were made to pray for the repose of the souls of those miners who died, and as the work was brutal and harsh, the life of a miner was usually quite short, which is why there were so many temples in the area.

One feature of Rakan is that every single one has a different features and expressions, and it is often said that while looking at rakan statues you will always find some that remind you of someone you know. The rakan here are included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

All the rakan here were made over a period of about 25 years and were completed in 1766. They were all attributed to a stonemason from nearby Fukumitsu with the pseudonym Toshitada, who is also credited with creating the 3 arched bridges that cross the stream to reach the rakan caves. It is thought that members of his family and other apprentices had a hand in the work

Rakan-ji Temple was established across from the rakan caves in 1764. It is a Shingon temple and the honzon is an Amida. A Yakushi hall was moved to the grounds from higher up in the valley.

Rakanji Temple is one of 10 "guest temples" on the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage. Kannon pilgrimages usually have 36 main temples and a few "extra" temples, but this Iwami pilgrimage has a total of 49 temples so is often referred to as Iwami Mandala Pilgrimage.

The previous post in this series was Seisuiji Temple, located further up the valley closer to the mine. A recent post that also featured rakan statues  was Togakuji Temple in Matsue.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Seisuiji Temple 7 Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage


Seisuiji Temple is a small place up in the middle of what used to be the silver mine in the World Heritage Iwami Ginzan sites.

It is number 7 on the Iwami Mandala Kannon Pilgrimage route, but used to be number 1,  the starting point of the original Edo Period Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage.

It was located high up on the mountain and was probably the most important temple for the mine back in the late 15th, and early 16th centuries.

It was moved to its current location at the base of the mountain in 1878. The gate was moved here in 1931 from a defunct temple that administered the main shrine of the mine. 

The honzon is an eleven-headed Kannon, and the main gate houses a wonderful pair of guardian statues, a Fudo Myo and a Bishamonten. Seisuiji is a Shingon temple.

During the heyday of the mine, the temple received many donations and much support from merchants, samurai, daimyo, and even the Shogun.

This visit was on the 4th day of my walk along the Iwami Pilgrimage, and the previous post was of my walk up through the preservation district of Omori, the town that serviced the mine.